Merlot Chocolate Truffles


wine chocolate trufflesOne of our family traditions growing up was enjoying special treats that we only got once a year. We made all kinds of Norwegian cookies together and bought decadent truffles from our favorite local stores.

This year I thought I would try my hand at making truffles myself! I was a little intimidated, especially because recipes I looked up talked about fancy things like tempering chocolate. I don't even know what that means!

I decided that I wanted to make merlot chocolate truffles, because let's be honest - is there anything better than chocolate and wine? Surprisingly, I couldn't find any recipes that looked decent for this, so I decided to make my own. My first few batches were fine, but I had a really hard time getting the wine flavor to actually come through. That's when Jordan had the excellent idea to make a red wine reduction, and use that instead of straight wine. The result? Magic.

These are actually really easy to make. If I can do it with a baby on my hip, you got this too! (And no children were harmed in the production of this recipe).

Try it below, and start a new truffle tradition of your own!

Red Wine reduction:

2 cups Merlot (Or your preferred red wine. I used Merlot because I was looking for that deeper fruit flavor. Note that while you might not want to use an expensive wine, you definitely want to use one that you would enjoy drinking, because you will taste it in the truffle.)
1/4 cup sugar

Bring to a simmer, and cook until it thickens to a syrup - JUST thick enough to start coating the bottom of the pan. If it goes too long, it turns into a gloppy disaster (I tell you from experience). This usually takes me about an hour, but you do NOT need to stand and wait over it, so don't let that discourage you.

The reduction can also be done ahead of time. I made mine in the morning and let it sit on the stove for about two hours until I came back to it, because #momlife.

Truffles:

1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup red wine reduction (recipe above)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 Tbs butter

Add the semi-sweet chocolate chips to a large heat proof mixing bowl,and set aside. Bring the milk to a boil, whisking regularly so it doesn't scald.  Pour the hot milk immediately onto the chocolate chips. Wait about five minutes, and then stir until the chocolate chips are melted and smooth. If the chocolate doesn't melt completely, microwave the mixture in 10 second increments, stirring each time.

Once chocolate is completely melted, stir in the salt, red wine reduction and vanilla extract.

Put the chocolate mixture in the fridge and let set for 1.5-2 hours. Spread a piece of wax or parchment paper on a baking sheet. I like to store my baking sheet in the fridge ahead of time, so it's cold for the next step. Take the chocolate mixture out of the fridge, and roll balls (approximately 2 tsp per ball) with your hands.

wine chocolate truffles

Try to move quickly, as the chocolate melts. If you notice that your chocolate is melting especially quickly, you can always put the mixture back into the fridge and let it re-set.

Place each truffle ball on the lined backing sheet. When you've formed all of the truffles (I usually get around 25), place them back in the fridge on the baking sheet.

Melt the bittersweet chocolate and butter together, either on the stove or in the microwave (using increments again so the chocolate doesn't burn). Stir until chocolate and butter mixture is blended and smooth.

Take the truffles out of the fridge, and dip each truffle ball into the bittersweet chocolate mixture. You can use a fork for this, and they also sell special chocolate dipping tools. The first time I made these I used a corn on the cob holder, because it had thin but sharp tines. Super random, but it's what I had! This time I used these tools, which are designed for it, and it was way easier.

wine chocolate truffles

Put the truffles back in the fridge again until the chocolate sets - about 30 minutes. These can be served cold or room temperature, whatever your preference. Decorate however you like!

wine chocolate truffles

Since the truffles have no preservatives in them they should be stored in the fridge, and are good for two weeks.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

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Kirsten Bell
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